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Two Canadian men switched at birth nearly 70 years ago finally get apology for life-changing mistake

Two Canadian men switched at birth nearly 70 years ago finally get apology for life-changing mistake

 

Two Canadian men who discovered they were switched at birth after carrying out DNA tests finally received a formal apology from the government nearly 70 years after the life-changing mistake.

Richard Beauvais and Eddy Ambrose, 68, were born on the same day in the same hospital in Arborg, Manitoba, in 1955, according to a report by the BBC.

However, a major error in the hospital led to Beauvais and Ambrose being taken home by each other’s biological parents.

The two men sat side-by-side last week to hear Manitoba’s Premier Wab Kinew make a formal apology for the years they spent away from their respective biological families.

“I rise today to deliver an apology that has been a long time coming, for actions that harmed two children, two sets of parents and two families across many generations,” Kinew said in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.

 

“We are sometimes asked to understand empathy and compassion by considering what it is like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.”

Two Canadian men switched at birth nearly 70 years ago finally get apology for life-changing mistake

Beauvais, who grew up in Sechelt, British Columbia, believed he was an indigenous person for his entire life. In 2020, he took a DNA test that revealed he was a mix of Ukrainian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Polish.

 

By chance, Eddy Ambrose’s sister Evelyn Stocki took a DNA test in Winnipeg, Manitoba nearly 1,500 miles away from Beauvais’ home, shockingly revealing that Beauvais was her biological brother.

 

Ambrose and Beauvais first connected on a phone call, according to reports by the Globe and Mail.

“Is this Eddy Ambrose?” Beauvais  the call, according to the Globe. “I don’t think you remember me, but we met a very long time ago. It was 1955 and we were side by side on the bed.”

While the government may have tried to make right the wrong that was only discovered “through a fluke,” the men’s lawyer, Bill Gange, said the mix put them both on different trajectories in life.

Two Canadian men switched at birth nearly 70 years ago finally get apology for life-changing mistake

Beauvais’ father, who is Ambrose’s biological father, died when he was three.

Beauvais was later forcibly taken from his family in Canada’s policy where indigenous children were placed in foster care or adopted away from their communities, known as the “Sixties Scoop.”

“Richard told me I probably wouldn’t have survived — it was that brutal,” Ambrose told the New York Times in August 2023.

 

Ambrose grew up on a rural farm in Manitoba and says he had a very loving and very supportive Ukrainian ancestral family and therefore was unaware of his indigenous heritage.

 

Ambrose was later adopted at 12 after becoming an orphan.

“They both have had who they thought they were stripped away because of this,” Gange said.

The revelation that they were not who they believed they were for years has caused an “enormous adjustment” to the men’s lives.

Beauvais, who prided himself on his heritage, is now coming to terms with the fact that all his relatives and friends were “indigenous but him.”

While the man may have only recently discovered the mix-up, their lives did slightly intersect twice years ago.

As a child, Ambrose asked a girl from towns away to play on his baseball team during recess at school, not knowing that he was asking his “biological sister,”.

Also, Beauvais, who grew up fishing, had a girlfriend when he was a teenager who brought him to a shore where his biological sister also fished but the two never discovered they were related.

Ambrose, a retired upholsterer, has since become a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, Gange shared.

Beauvais’ two daughters have even gotten “Ambrose” tattooed on their arms, a symbol of the father they could have had if the mishap all those years ago never happened.

 

Gange explained “that a mistake was made that has affected all of them,” but the government’s apology is a step in the right direction.

“[It is] the premier, on behalf of the province, saying out loud and to their faces, ‘this should not have happened to you,’ and I think that is an important acknowledgment,” he told the outlet.

 

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